Need for collaboration
A key theme of the panel was the need for intense collaboration to unlock the full potential of digitalisation across industry. Technology for technology’s sake will not be enough, panellists agreed. Only an ecosystem can support businesses’ goals.
Bonny Heeren, Investor and Advisor at SenseNL, a Netherlands-based technology company that is using sensors and 5G to automate agriculture, praised the Dutch Triple Helix approach, where government, business and academia partner to find solutions.
This is an approach - and a collaboration destination - favoured by TCS. The company recently opened its first European phygital hub, TCS Pace Port™ Amsterdam, which connects innovators, including business and universities, in a greenfield setting where rapid prototyping using technologies like 5G is supported.
However, hubs and partnerships will need to be joined up if industry is to deliver on Paris Climate goals. Carol Wilson cited the example of emergent connected city technologies as a digitalisation opportunity that has huge potential but is currently under-networked. “The privately-owned parking management system could be IoT-based. But who pays for the integration of a parking system into the overall smart city network?”
Talent and targets
Skills could prove another key factor that determines whether industry can deliver on the promise of digitalisation. According to the panel, training and retaining the next generation of ICT specialists will be critical.
“The skills gap and the war for talent at the moment is mind boggling,” says Carol Wilson. TCS’ STEM skills program, goIT for Europe, works to inspire school children in the IT field. However, the challenge requires further cross-industry collaboration.
The panel also highlighted the need for businesses to have appropriate - and if possible, standardised - KPIs in place to measure delivery against climate targets and SDGs. As Carol Wilson put it: “This will help businesses take very early course corrections to stop investments in one area and move them to another.”
Panel Chair and Head of Marketing & Communications and Ericsson, Corinne Muller was clear on the roadmap ahead. “We need pioneers and frontrunners to lead by example. And we need to scale up to reach the 2030 goals.”